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Audiologists helping employers gain confidence in recruiting deaf workers

Tuesday 31st October 2017
Action on Hearing Loss has launched a new scheme to help hard-of-hearing workers better integrate into Northern Irish workplaces. Image: Sladic via iStock
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Audiologists in Northern Ireland are getting involved with a new scheme that is designed to encourage more employers in the country to recruit people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The campaign, entitled Working for Change, is being led by the charity Action on Hearing Loss and was launched last week at the Skainos Centre in East Belfast.

Research carried out ahead of the initiative's launch led to the discovery that more than one-third (35 per cent) of employers in Northern Ireland are unsure about taking on a staff member with hearing loss, while 40 per cent do not feel that they have the resources in place to support a hard-of-hearing individual to be productive in their job.

In addition, it was found that deaf workers believe that there are unnecessary barriers in the way of them either getting a job in the first place or progressing in their chosen line of work.

This therefore suggests that a significant number of people could be being held back from achieving their full professional potential due to organisations being ill-prepared to take on workers with hearing loss.

This is what Action on Hearing Loss wants to address. It wants to make sure employers have the chance to learn from others that have successfully integrated workers with hearing problems into their companies, and to ensure that training from experts is available so that all businesses are confident in recruiting hard-of-hearing individuals in the future.

At the campaign launch, Jackie White, Northern Ireland director at Action on Hearing Loss, commented: "We hope that the positive experiences described by employers today about the added value that their staff with hearing loss have given to their team and businesses will provide reassurance to other employers.

"There is a range of support, including financial support such as the government’s Access to Work scheme to help employers make their workplaces accessible. This issue will become more pertinent as we all stay in work longer."

Written by James Puckle

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